Swilken Burn

Swilken Burn ~ SSL W NO502171 1 363 0m

at Swilcanthe burne 1797 Martine 1797, 24 [written 1683; ‘I have heard it crediblie reported, that of old the heritors of Kinkell claimed, and pretended to a priviledge of watering all the bestiall on their ground at Swilcanthe burne’][339]
stream of Swilian 1790s OSA, 732 [for Swilcan? It ‘runs through the golf links’]
Swilcauth Burn 1850s OS Name Book 60, 11 [deleted and replaced by Swilken Burn; the form Swilcauth Burn was attested by several local people]
Swilken Burn 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn

The name of the burn which runs across the first and last fairway of the Old Course (golfcourse). Its early forms show considerable variation. Given that the bulk of forms contain c/k, it is probable that the OSA form Swilian is a transcription error for Swilcan. The name may derive from an otherwise unrecorded form of Sc swelch ‘whirlpool, abyss in the sea’, which comes from a root meaning ‘to swallow’. It is tempting to see in this a reference, made either in humour or in anger, to what the burn did (and still does) to golf-balls.


This place-name appeared in printed volume 3